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ESM, J-D soccer split semifinal clashes

Boys Spartans win shootout; girls Red Rams win in OT

— Four years after it last claimed a Section III Class A title, the East Syracuse-Minoa boys soccer team moved to the brink of another one.

And for the Spartans, the sweetest part was that it got there at the expense of the defending champions from right down the road.

ESM stunned top seed Jamesville-DeWitt in Tuesday night’s Class A semifinal at Marcellus High School, prevailing in a penalty-kick shoot-out after the two sides played through regulation and overtime in a 0-0 deadlock.

And this followed a girls Class A semifinal where J-D, a heavily favored top seed, had to go through overtime before edging ESM 2-1.

Having gone through OT to knock out Indian River in the quarterfinal round, ESM's boys were given little chance to upend J-D, who at one time this fall owned the no. 1 spot in the state Class A rankings.

However, when they met in the regular season on Oct. 4, ESM stayed right with the Rams in a 1-0 defeat and saw, up close, that while J-D had a formidable defense (it had recorded 12 shutouts this fall), its attack could get slowed down.

And that’s exactly what happened at Marcellus. ESM’s back line, led by Jarrett Temple, Enes Hujdur and Ifran Tihic, covered all the Rams’ attacking lanes and broke up plays before most of them could get established.

J-D did the same on its end, though, and through 80 minutes or regulation and 30 minutes of sudden-victory overtime (where one goal ends it), neither side could get anything.

Thus, a shoot-out was required, with a maximum of five penalty kicks per side. Goalie Casey Sullivan turned away all of J-D’s tries, while the trio of Jeremy Barbuto, Emir Avdakovic and Senid Hakic all put their penalty kicks into the net, sending ESM to the finals.

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